Saturday, January 31, 2015

DIY Manicure

If you're anything like me, you find it really difficult to sit still while your nail polish dries.  Getting a manicure at a salon helps a little bit, because I'm there and since I just paid to have someone paint my nails, I'm more likely to sit it out until they are (basically) dry.  However, when I don't have the time to make it to a salon, or have some downtime at home, I've got a semi-foolproof method of achieving the manicured look.

Tip #1  Since I can't clip my own cuticles, I push them back with my nails on my opposite hand when I'm either in the shower or when I wash my hands or after I'm finishing doing dishes.  This takes place of sitting still while your nails soak in a bowl of soapy water at the salon.  If you do this often enough, you should maintain relatively healthy cuticles to get you by between real manicures.

Tip #2  I use fresh lemons pretty regularly in my diet.  For example, a sidecar cocktail (lemon, brandy, cointreau) or lemon scones (recipes to follow!) or kale salad (lemon juice and salt are necessary to break down the kale roughage).  When ever I'm done squeezing a lemon and I'm ready to dispose of the rest, I rub my nails on the inside of the lemon to brighten my nails.  Of course this stings when I have nicks on my hand, but hey, no pain, no gain!

These tips are things to do periodically, when you remember, to round out the "manicure"

Finally, clip (and file if it suits you) your nails if you need to and you're ready to paint!

Step 1.  Gather your supplies and then use the bathroom before you get started (not fun to try to get your pants down and up with wet nails)

Step 2.  Paint your dominate hand first.  And let your one hand dry before you start the second hand.  I know my method isn't that ground breaking but it took me until I was 25 to figure it out.  I'm right-handed and I've found if I paint my right hand first, and let them fully dry - by old school waving my hand frantically or just blowing on my wet nails - I have the coordination to paint my non-dominate hand.  Also it gives me some freedom to do something with my un-painted hand if I must (which if you're like me, you'll find something you must do).  Sometimes I'll even do each hand at different times of the day if I'm too impatient for one sitting.

Step 3.  When painting each hand, blow on your nails between each coat.  And don't skimp on the top coat.  The clear top coat gives that extra shine that you always get at the salon.  I like a quick drying top coat like this one from Sephora.

Step 4.  Have your kindle or your laptop ready to go before you start painting.  If you have something to read while you're blowing on your nails, your less likely to mess up your paint job by texting or turning the page in a book or magazine.  If your hair has a tendency to get in your face or sleeves get in the way, take precautions before you start.  Or have a buddy to spot you.  It's always funny to ask my husband to put my hair in a pony tail for me or to roll up my sleeves.  Yes, this is marriage.  Haha.

Another tip for maintaining your DIY manicure, wear gloves when you do chores.  Dishes have been the demise of my painted nails on many occasions.  Although I guess it sets you up for the next DIY manicure because warm water softens up your cuticles...

Dominant hand first...

Next up, lefty...

Bright and a little moody.  Much like this winter.

I'm wearing OPI's Moon Over Mumbai, taking a little break from Essie's Wicked. My top coat is Formula X by Sephora Top Coat which is ultra-glossy and quick-drying.

What nail polish are you wearing these days?  Are you dying to wear bright spring colors yet like me?

Friday, January 30, 2015


We decided to stop by my in-laws' house after work to catch up and take a quick soak in the hot tub.  Upon my arrival my mother-in-law offered me a Saint David's day cocktail - St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, some bubbly and a splash of Pinot Grigio - and, let me tell you, this cocktail was so tasty!  Saint David's Day is March 1, but I'm so glad I got to try it earlier because it was fresh and delicious, like a nice white wine but a little more flavor without being sweet.  We'll definitely be mixing this up at our house soon!

Since we got home late-ish and had a quick dinner chat.  I had planned to eat leftover chicken tacos but after that cocktail I had a hunger!  I was in the mood for something a little more rich and salty rather than light and spicy.  Luckily, we almost always have Carbonara components on hand so we decided to go for it and embrace the 9:30pm dinner.

The key to success in making this dish - and most dishes for that matter - is having everything ready to go before you start.  I cooked a few pieces of bacon, let them rest on some paper towel to soak up some grease and to cool before I ripped it into bite-sized pieces.  I grated some parmesan cheese and pepper and cracked a couple of eggs into a bowl and beat them (you can leave un-beat if you want, I beat mine because I've found it makes a more uniform carbonara sauce).  While I did the prep work I was bringing water to a boil on the stove for the pasta.

I like my pasta al dente, so I boiled my pasta until just cooked through, quickly drained it and threw it back into the same pot.  This next part has to be speedy!  

While the pasta is freshly HOT, I tossed in about half of the parmesan cheese to cool the pasta only slightly, did a quick toss, then added the beat eggs, another few quick tosses to coat the pasta, then added the rest of the cheese, the pepper and the bacon.  The hot pasta cooks your eggs a bit and it combines with the cheese to make a semi-thick sauce that sticks to your pasta.

Split the pasta into two bowls and that's it!  Super easy and perfect for a quick but delicious and comforting meal.

Ingredients for Carbonara:  2 eggs, 3 slices of cooked bacon, 1 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese, fresh cracked pepper to taste and long pasta of your choice

The final product -YUM!

A quick dinner for two

A few notes about timing - I typically put the eggs in on the freshly drained HOT pasta and I end up with a little bit of a scrambled egg texture on my pasta.  This was actually the first time I've decided to cool the hot pasta a tiny bit with cheese before adding the eggs and I'm really, really happy with the results!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Paige Jeans

We all know a great pair of jeans is hard to find.  Ever since leaving the business casual world of public accounting, jeans have become very important to my work wardrobe.  I think I've found a good brand and it would be selfish of me not to share!

I don't want to take the credit for actually locating this particular jean so I'll give you a brief recap of how it all went down.  A few weeks ago, my co-workers and I were discussing how hard it is to find a pair of jeans that stretch but can keep their shape throughout the day.  Our intern told us the jeans we are looking for are Paige Jeans.  One friend volunteered to be the guinea pig and she ordered them to review and report back.  She found a pair on Amazon here and had them within a week.

Success!  She said "you'll love them" and they fit true to size, so I ordered mine (twist my arm, seriously).

It was true!  They fit perfectly - snug with a nice stretch and I wore them 3 times without washing and they never got saggy or stretched out!  I think they had a few more wears in them but I went to a somewhat smelly dive bar and didn't want to find out the hard way if the smell lingers on these jeans.

As much as I prefer the softness of cotton, mostly cotton jeans always seem to get stretched out too quickly to make them worth my time.  These jeans are 80% cotton, 19% polyester, 1% spandex, and they are made in the US to boot!

Another jean success story is a pair I bought last year from J. Crew Toothpick Jean in Ecru (no longer available unfortunately).  J. Crew jeans are hit or miss for me.  I find it odd that the same cut isn't always made out of the same materials.

What brand and style of jeans do you love?

Saturday, January 24, 2015



Welcome to my tiny corner of the internet :)  I was looking at my 2015 calendar the other day and realized that I have free time!  I've always wanted to have a blog to document my sometimes interesting and sometimes not-so-interesting experiences, and I finally have time.  And a camera.  Having a nice DSLR camera is so much fun.  I don't even have to be a good photographer, the camera takes good pictures for me, yess.

So here we are!  Ready to share and hopefully provide a little entertainment when you find yourself with some free time.

Our first family photo, January 1, 2015

Jules is so over this photo shoot.

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Thank you!